The Shia Horns of Prophecy (Daniel 8:3)

Militant Clergy—the Future of Shia Islam?

Published on July 28th, 2016 | by Guest
by Saeid Golkar

Mohammad Aqamiri might be the first-ever Shia cleric from Iran who martyred himself in Syria after the Syrian uprising. While studying and teaching at Qom Seminary in 2013, Aqamiri enlisted in the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and died defending the holy shrine in Syria.

He is not alone. Some 400 Iranians have been killed so far in Syria fighting for Bashar al-Assad and against the Islamic State (ISIS or IS). Iran has identified 18 of these as Shia clergymen. These clerics have a dual identity, claiming the status of religious leaders yet at the same time participating in and even leading a violent, religious struggle. Their militarization is a new development that threatens to further radicalize Shia Islam.

Shia Islam was once a religion of quietism. Historically, Shia clergy disagreed with coupling politics and religion. However, in 1970 Shia Islam started to become more involved in politics under the influence of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, who overthrew the Pahlavi dynasty. After the Iranian revolution and the establishment of the Islamic Republic in 1979, clergy also became involved in the state’s bureaucratic affairs and some began to join military and security apparatuses.

In 1988, Iran’s supreme leader died, and Ali Khamenei became the new supreme leader. He was middle-ranked clergy and did not enjoy too much legitimacy among the higher-ranking clerical establishment. To compensate for this lack of legitimacy, he tried to control the seminary school system (howzeh). Shia seminary schools were traditionally independent from the state, but Khamenei tried to bureaucratize the schools and bring them under state control. He expanded the presence of clergy in the military and security establishment, mainly drawing from the younger generation of clergy. This younger generation in the seminaries is the social base of Ayatollah Khamenei, who controls the clergy and the military at the same time.

After reformists took power in 1997, Ayatollah Khamenei relied more on this group to block reform and consolidate his power and authority when challenged. Since hardliner Mahmoud Ahmadinejad took power in 2005, the power of this clergy militia has expanded, particularly among the political elite. These clergy militants are notable for their loyalty to Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Khamenei, and their numbers have skyrocketed since 1988. About 4,000 serve with Iran’s armed forces; no fewer than 2,000 work for the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. These officers have studied at Iranian seminaries. They are known to wear clerical clothes on duty but work in security and the military. They work mainly for the armed forces’ ideological political bureaus and counter-intelligence branches to indoctrinate and oversee military personnel. Their position of influence and power can, in essence, be compared to a Communist political commissar.

Not only are these new militant clergy joining the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, another 140,000 of the 400,000 clergy and seminary students in Iran are members of the Basij, a branch of the state militia. Although a majority is lower ranked, some have advanced military and security training. The clerical Basij is mainly responsible for controlling seminary schools, but many have also become involved in military combat units set up to help the Islamic Republic suppress social or political riots and defend the regime in a possible civil war.

Since the beginning of the uprising against Assad, some of these new clerical militia have been deployed to Syria and Iraq and have joined in fighting the Salafi groups, or Sunni radicals. The phenomenon has even spread outside Iran, ensnaring some international students studying at Iranian seminaries to become clergy, particularly in the Qom and Mashad seminaries. These seminary students comprise the core of Shia militia groups in the Middle East. The examples are numerous:
Several members of the Fatemiyoun Brigade, an Afghan Shia militia allied with Assad, are Afghan seminary graduates of Al-Mustafa International University in Qom. As a clergy militia, this group has a connection with the masses and can recruit Afghan immigrants in Iran to be deployed to Syria to fight with the Assad regime. These include Ali Reza Tavassoli, also known as Abu Hamed, the late former commander of the Fatemiyoun Brigade, and his deputy, the late Reza Bakhshi, also known as Faateh. Mohammad Rezai, another Afghan member of Fatemiyoun, later killed in Syria, studied at a branch of Al-Mustafa University in Mashhad.

The Zeynabiyoun Brigade has recruited Pakistani Shia seminary students who are studying in Iran. Some have been killed inSyria and buried in Qom. At least three of seven Pakistanis killed in Syria and buried in Qom in April 2015 were students from the Al-Mustafa International University. Most of these students were native to Pakistan’s Parachinar region, a Shia area in Pakistan known for the close ties between its seminaries and Iranian seminaries and an increasing source of both male and female seminary students in Iran.

In Iraq, the Heydarian Brigade, made up of Iraqi Shia militias, includes several militant clergy members. Such clergy also belongs to other militia groups, such as the Popular Mobilization Forces, formed under Hash’d al-Sha’bi, a militia umbrella organization. Muqtada al-Sadr, leader of Saraya al-Salam and the former head of the Mahdi Army, who currently lives in Qom, is a former student of a Qom seminary school. And Qais al-Khazali, an Iraqi who is predominantly known for his departure from the Mahdi Army to form Asaib Ahl al-Haq, studied in Qom as well.

In brief, while traditional Shia clergy have stayed out of government, the militant Shia clergy have become a tool for the Islamic Republic to implement its domestic and regional policies. Due to their military and religious authority, these clerical militia are becoming more powerful and influential in seminaries than their traditional and non-political counterparts, who are more supportive of the traditional separation of Islam and politics. By undermining traditional clergy, this new wave of militant Shia clergy has the power to radicalize future followers of Shia Islam, snowballing the growth of militarized Shia clerics and perhaps even triggering a counter-militarization of Sunni clerics in response.

Saeid Golkar is a lecturer for the Middle East and North African Studies Program at Northwestern University, a visiting senior fellow for Iran policy at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, and a consulting senior fellow at the International Institute for Strategic Studies.

Iranian Hegemony In The Persian Gulf (Daniel 8)

Leader: Iran to Keep Holding Naval War Games in Persian Gulf

News ID: 1064775 Service: Politics
May, 02, 2016 – 17:08

TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei hammered the US for its schemes against Iran’s military presence in the Persian Gulf and made it clear that the Islamic Republic will continue to demonstrate power at its home, the Persian Gulf.

“The Persian Gulf is the Iranian nation’s home …, and the coasts of the Persian Gulf and large parts of the Sea of Oman coasts belong to this strong nation,” Imam Khamenei said on Monday, in an address to a gathering of teachers in Tehran.

Taking a swipe at the US Congress for plans against Iran’s naval drills, the Leader added, “Today, the enemies are biting off more than they can chew. For example, they draw plans that Iran should not hold military war games in the Persian Gulf.”

Imam Khamenei stressed that the great Iranian nation can respond to all those excessive demands, stressing, “We must be present in that region (the Persian Gulf), hold war games and demonstrate power.”

“It is Americans who should explain why they have come here from the other side of the world and stage war games,” Ayatollah Khamenei stressed.

The Leader underlined that the Iranian nation’s power forces the enemies to withdraw, but lack of demonstration of power in the face of the adversaries or signs of fear will make them “more brazen”.
Imam Khamenei then explained that power is not confined to military weapons, but “science, faith, national character, resistance and revolutionary identity” are other factors of power generation.

The Leader of the Islamic Revolution then warned against the plots that “the international hegemony” has hatched against Iran, including the methods to influence the future generation of Iranians and make the elites, politicians and influential figures think and behave in the way the hegemony desires.
Elsewhere, Ayatollah Khamenei said the responsibility of training Iranian students with the “premium criteria” does not lie with the Education Ministry alone, but other organizations, including the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting and the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology, need to share the burden.

The Leader made the comments on the occasion of the National Teachers’ Day.

Iran has some 13 million school students and around 1 million teachers.

The Persian Horn Threatens The Arabs

Iran’s Khamenei threatens ‘harsh’ retaliation over Hajj stampede at Mina – CNN News

Posted: 2:51 pm, October 1, 2015 by Desk man

Iran’s Supreme Leader is threatening Saudi Arabia with “tough and harsh” retaliation after saying that the bodies of Hajj stampede victims are not being repatriated swiftly.

“Saudi Arabia failed to fulfill its duties concerning the desperate wounded (pilgrims),” said Ayatollah Ali Khamenei,according to Iran’s official PressTV.

“Should we decide to show any reaction, our reaction will be tough and harsh,” it quoted him as saying at a military academy Wednesday.

Iran’s Foreign Ministry released a statement saying that Khamenei had urged the formation of a fact-finding committee of Muslim nations, including Iran, to investigate the disaster.

The Ministry also summoned the Saudi charge d’affaires Wednesday, warning against any delay in identifying and repatriating missing and dead Iranian pilgrims, Iran’s state-run Mehr News Agency reported.

War of words

Iran and Saudi Arabia have been stepping up their war of words over last Thursday’s stampede, with Riyadh accusing Tehran of politicizing the tragedy and Tehran demanding an apology from Saudi Arabia, which it says mismanaged the Hajj.

The Saudi state-run SPA news agency says at least 769 people were killed and more than 900 injured in the crush at Mina, a neighborhood about 2 miles from the Mecca holy site, but Iran says the death toll is higher.

Iran’s Hajj and Pilgrimage Organization says 239 Iranian pilgrims have so far been confirmed dead, with 241 others unaccounted for, PressTV said Wednesday. It referred to what it said was an overall death toll of 4,173.

Khamenei also lashed out Sunday at Saudi Arabia over the Mina deaths.

“Saudi Arabia’s rulers, instead of shifting blame (to others), must accept their responsibility in this heavy mishap by apologizing to the Islamic Ummah and their bereft families, and meeting their obligations to that effect,” Khamenei said, according to a statement released by his office.

“The Muslim world has many questions, and the deaths of more than 1,000 people in this incident is not a minor issue; therefore, the Muslim world must think of a remedy to this issue,” he continued. Iran and some other Muslim nations dispute the death toll released by Saudi Arabia.

Yemen and Syria

Saudi Foreign Minister Adel bin Ahmed Al-Jubeir responded by saying Iranians should not politically exploit a tragedy, SPA reported Sunday.

“We are going to disclose the truth when it comes out (following the completion of an investigation) and not hide anything. Had a wrongdoing taken place in Hajj, those who were in charge would be fully held responsible,” it quoted him as telling reporters in New York as world leaders gathered for the United Nations General Assembly.

The Middle Eastern rivals have also been trading jabs over foreign policy in the war-torn nations of Yemen and Syria in their comments on the Hajj stampede.

In an interview with Al-Arabiya on Monday, Al-Jubeir again accused Iran of politicizing Mina and said Iran was fanning unrest in the Middle East by arming Houthi rebels in Yemen and backing Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Iran’s Foreign Ministry responded Tuesday by issuing a statement from a spokeswoman re-emphasizing “poor management and lack of prudence of Saudi officials in connection with the Mina tragedy” and saying Saudi Arabia’s armed intervention in Syria and Yemen would encourage extremism and instability in the region.

“Exactly at the time when thousands of Muslim countries’ Hajj pilgrims are becoming victim of their lack of prudence, hundreds of Yemeni civilians are killed in a wedding ceremony in an air raid in Yemen,” spokeswoman Marziyeh Afkha added.

A Saudi-led coalition backing President Abdu Rabu Mansour Hadi’s government has been carrying out nationwide airstrikes against the Houthis since March, but the Saudis denied involvement in an airstrike Monday that Houthi-run media said killed at least 131 people.

On Wednesday, a statement by the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen said the Saudi navy had intercepted an Iranian ship attempting to smuggle arms in to Yemen over the weekend off the coast of Oman.
Weapons including anti-tank shells and rocket launchers were seized from the ship, which was manned by 14 Iranians and had Iranian documents claiming it was a fishing boat, the coalition said.(Susannah Cullinane)

This Probably Won’t Help The Iran Deal (Dan 8)

 US Navy to accompany US-flagged ships in Persian Gulf after Iran seizes vessel

Published April 30, 2015

U.S. Navy ships will begin to accompany U.S. flagged commercial ships as they travel the Strait of Hormuz, a defense official confirmed to Fox News, on the heels of Iran seizing a cargo ship.

The Obama administration is closely monitoring Iran’s takeover of the ship, as it involved a Marshall Islands-flagged vessel. The Marshall Islands and the U.S. have a longstanding security agreement, and officials said Thursday the two nations are in contact.

But, in a clear response to that incident, a defense official said the U.S. Navy will now accompany all U.S.-flagged ships going through the area. The move is the latest development in a high-stakes chess match in the region, with the Iran nuclear talks continuing to play out in the background.

The Navy makes a distinction between accompanying ships and escorting them. Officials told the AP the Navy won’t technically escort these ships but will let them know in advance that they will monitor the situation as they transit the narrow Strait from the Persian Gulf toward the Arabian Sea.

The Navy already has dispatched a guided-missile destroyer, the USS Farragut, to the region. Pentagon spokesman Col. Steve Warren said Wednesday the destroyer is “keeping an eye on things,” and in close enough proximity to the seized ship that they “will be able to respond if a response is required.”

When pressed on what kind of incident aboard the ship would elicit a U.S. Navy response, he was vague, saying: “These [U.S. military] assets give commanders options.” He said he didn’t know “what the possibilities are,” and the U.S. government is “in discussions with the Marshall Islands on the way ahead.”

Earlier this week Iranian naval vessels reportedly fired warning shots near the Marshall Islands-flagged cargo ship and detained it and its crew. Iranian officials say the Maersk shipping line owes it money.

Maersk Line, the Danish shipper that chartered the cargo vessel, acknowledged in a written statement that the reason for stopping the ship could be related to a 2005 cargo case.

Maersk Line spokesman Michael Storgaard said the company learned Thursday that an Iranian appeals court had ruled Maersk must pay $3.6 million for a 10-container cargo delivered a decade ago on behalf of an Iranian company in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. However, the cargo never was collected, according to Storgaard, adding it eventually was disposed of by local authorities.

“As we do not have the details of the ruling, we are not able to comment hereon, nor at this point speculate on our options,” Maersk Line said of the latest ruling.

“Our paramount concern remains the safety of the crew and the safe release of the vessel. We will continue to do everything we can to resolve this matter with the relevant Iranian authorities.”

Storgaard told The Associated Press that the ship and crew aren’t theirs. MV Maersk Tigris, operated by Rickmers Ship Management in Singapore, was boarded on Tuesday.

Cors Radings, a spokesman for Rickmers, told Fox News that as of Thursday, there has been no change in the status of the ship and her crew, and that the company has not spoken with the crew in the past 24 hours.

The Marshall Islands — officially known as the Republic of the Marshall Islands, and a former U.S. trust — enjoy “associate state” status with the United States, meaning the U.S. agrees to defend the islands, and provide economic subsidies and access to federally funded social services. The U.S. initially gained military control of the Marshall Islands from Japan in 1944.

According to the State Department, “The security compact between the United States and the Republic of the Marshall Islands gives the U.S. authority and responsibility for security and defense matters that relate to the Marshall Islands, including matters related to vessels flying the Marshallese flag.”

Fox News’ Lucas Tomlinson and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Iranian Horn Forces Issue In Gulf (Daniel 8:3)

U.S. says Iranian forces fire on and board cargo ship in Gulf

(Reuters) – Iranian forces boarded a Marshall Islands-flagged cargo ship in the Gulf on Tuesday after patrol boats fired warning shots across its bow and ordered it deeper into Iranian waters, the Pentagon said.

U.S. planes and a destroyer were monitoring the situation after the vessel, the MV Maersk Tigris, made a distress call in the Strait of Hormuz, one of the world’s most important oil shipping channels.

Iran’s Tasnim news agency quoted an unidentified source who sought to play down the incident, saying it was a civil matter with no military or political dimension. But the Pentagon described it as an apparent provocation.

The incident came as the United States and five other global powers aim to secure a final nuclear deal with Iran by the end of June.

Under the accord Tehran, which denies seeking to build nuclear weapons, would win sanctions relief in return for slashing the number of its uranium enrichment centrifuges and accepting intrusive international inspections.

Saudi-owned Al Arabiya television earlier said an Iranian force fired on and seized a U.S. cargo ship with 34 U.S. sailors on board, and directed it to the Iranian port of Bandar Abbas. But the Pentagon spokesman said there were no U.S. citizens on board the ship.

The company managing the vessel told a Danish news channel there were 24 crew members, mostly from eastern Europe and Asia.

Reuters tracking data showed the Maersk Tigris, a 65,000-tonne container ship, off the Iranian coast between the islands of Qeshm and Hormuz. It had been listed as sailing from the Saudi port of Jeddah, bound for the United Arab Emirates port of Jebel Ali.

Daniel 8:3 The Large Horn Aids The Small Horn

Iranian military clout in Iraq grows with fight against terrorists

The previous Persian Empire

The previous Persian Empire
By The Washington Post

Sunday, Dec. 28, 2014, 12:01 a.m.

In the eyes of Obama administration officials, equally concerned about the rise of the brutal Islamist group, that’s an acceptable role — for now.
Yet American officials remain apprehensive about the potential for renewed friction with Iran as American troops return to a limited mission in Iraq, either directly or via Iranian-backed militias that once attacked U.S. personnel on a regular basis.
A senior Iranian cleric with close ties to Tehran’s leadership, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss security matters, said that since the Islamic State captured much of northern Iraq in June, Iran has sent more than 1,000 military advisers as well as elite units to Iraq and has spent more than $1 billion on military aid.
“The areas that have been liberated from Daesh have been thanks to Iran’s advice, command, leaders and support,” the cleric said, using the Arabic acronym for the group.

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It’s All About The First Horn Of Prophecy (Daniel 8:3)

Iran deal more than a nuclear issue

persian empire
Trita Parsi
Sunday 7 December 2014 16:08 GMT

Concern in Washington and Tehran over who is seen as ‘winner’ in negotiations is a key obstacle to finding solution

The dispute over Iran’s nuclear programme was never just about centrifuges or breakout capabilities. It has always been a symptom of a larger geopolitical contest between the West (primarily the United States) and Iran, with roots that predate the 1979 Iranian revolution.

But the West and Iran have very different narratives about their conflict, with the Iranians casting it as their quest for independence and self-sufficiency while fending off Western attempts to subjugate the country. Yet the narrative of the conflict is distinct from that of resolving the conflict – and here, the two sides face even greater obstacles.

The latter narrative is a contest over who determined the terms of the solution – who gave in and who came out on top. This is not a mere Iranian obsession. It is equally important to the US and its allies. After all, if the conflict is rooted in Iran’s challenge to the US’s regional dominance, Washington will reject the narrative of Iran successfully forcing the world’s sole superpower to accommodate Tehran.

Consequently, the language US and European Union officials deploy reveals a near infatuation with establishing the West’s dominance over Iran. It is a language of Western power and control. The West decides the terms of the conversation, as well as the terms of the outcome.

“The Iranians know what they have to do,” is a phrase often aired by Western officials. Or in the words of US State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki, “There are steps they need to take to meet their international obligations and find a peaceful solution to this issue, and the ball is in their court.”

The language and attitude trickles into the news media coverage, where reports describe the West debating what Iran will be “permitted” to do and not do, or the extent of a nuclear program it will be “allowed” to maintain. Iran is essentially at the mercy of the West, the narrative suggests.

The language does not depict a negotiation, but rather court proceedings where Iran is the transgressing party and the US and its allies are both the prosecutor and judge.

As such, it is Iran’s obligation to prove its innocence. “What Iran needs to do is prove to the international community that it’s not building a military nuclear program,” EU foreign affairs spokesman Michael Mann said last year at the height of the negotiations. The onus is on Iran, the language signals. It is Iran’s responsibility to “act quickly to resolve the international community’s deep concerns over their nuclear program”, Psaki recently stated.

Moreover, in its role as both prosecutor and judge, the West positions itself as the spokesperson for the entire international community. “It is now up to Iran to decide whether they are looking for a way to cooperate with the international community or if they want to remain in isolation,” Germany’s Foreign Minister Frank Walter Steinmeier commented in July.

This language further accentuates Iran’s isolation and the moral strength of the West, backed by the entire international community. Of course, given that the West’s negotiators are, with China and Russia, representatives of the UN Security Council plus Germany, there is validity to this interpretation. The Iranians, however, counter by pointing to the support they have received from the nonaligned movement, which constitutes a majority of the states in the international community.

Tehran, in turn, is equally obsessed with a narrative that restores Iran’s dignity by displaying its successful defiance against attempts – real or imagined – to dominate it.

The Iranian narrative centers on resistance. When the parties extended the deadline for the negotiations in November, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei defended the decision by casting it as a victory over a Western attempt at forcing Iran to surrender. “In the nuclear issue,” he said, “America and colonial European countries got together and did their best to bring the Islamic Republic to its knees, but they could not do so – and they will not be able to do so.”

Iran’s leaders espouse the idea that the nuclear issue is nothing but a pretext for the West to oppress Iran, subjugate it and prevent it from reaching its full potential. Ayatollah Khamenei often refers to the nuclear issue as an “excuse” to prevent Iranian progress. It is a narrative that builds on long-standing perceptions in Iran about Western intentions based on the country’s experience with European colonial powers in the 19th and 20th centuries.

So according to this narrative, Western pressure is not because of Iranian policies or behavior, but because West desires to dominate Iran. Resisting subjugation, in turn, means restoring Iran’s dignity.

The concept of dignity is central in the narrative of the Iranian revolution as a whole. The revolution was about restoring the Iranian people’s dignity against a repressive monarchical regime imposed by and supported by the US. Throughout his speeches, Khamenei has repeatedly emphasized that upholding the nation’s and the revolution’s dignity is paramount.

“Whenever the Islamic Republic backed down against America and Europe, they grew more insolent, and whenever the Islamic Republic insisted on its revolutionary slogans and principles, the dignity of the Islamic Republic was increased,” Khamenei said in 2011. While many world leaders would measure the success of their country and tenure by focusing on the economy or societal progress, Khamenei habitually offers updates on the state of the Iranian nation’s dignity internationally.

Dignity in turn is restored by resisting pressure and standing up to the “bullying of the West”. Or as Khamenei would put it, “Our problem is with the US government’s bullying and excessive demands.”
The negotiations are a victory for Iran in and of themselves because the West has been forced to come to the negotiating table (the George W Bush administration initially refused to negotiate with Iran).

“European officials are still stuck in the bullying mindset of the colonial 19th century, but they will face many problems in the face of the resistance of the Iranian nation and officials,” he said the day after the European Union toughened sanctions against Iran in 2011.

Furthermore, Tehran harps on the idea that Iran seeks a fair agreement without excessive demands from the Western side. The agreement, according to Tehran, has to be balanced and based on logic. “We accept rational words; we accept fair and sensible agreements. But if there are bullying and excessive demands, no we won’t accept,” Khamenei reiterated after the November round of talks.

The emphasis on logic, fairness and rationality has political significance. A nuclear agreement based on these principles is consequently not based on the power of the negotiating parties. These principles level the playing field for Iran and neutralize the West’s superiority in terms of military and economic power.

By rejecting strength as a basis for the solution, Iran believes it will have achieved what no other Middle East player has thus far: force the West to meet it half-way and deal with it on an equal basis. That’s the win Iran is looking for – one that restores its sense of dignity. If you are in Iran, that’s the narrative you want coming out of the negotiations.

But contrary to Tehran and Washington’s efforts to find a win-win solution, their narratives remain fundamentally win-lose. A narrative celebrating a compromise as a win is yet to emerge on either side. At some point, a compromise on centrifuges and enrichment may be reached. But finding a middle ground between the Iranian and Western narratives on the negotiations may prove a harder nut to crack.

Walking Into The Persian Trap

With American Help Iraq’s Cycle of Violence Spirals

Brotherly Hatred of Shia and Sunni

Brotherly Hatred of Shia and Sunni
Matthew Hoh | The Blog
Posted: 10/15/2014 12:15 pm EDT Updated: 10/15/2014 12:59 pm EDT

Amnesty International published a report yesterday on Iraqi Government and Shia militia war crimes against Sunni populations in Iraq. This important piece of documentation helps to illustrate the cycle of violence that has been devastating the people of Iraq for 11 years and why US military intervention, on behalf of the Shia government and against the Sunni population, is not working, will not work, and will only prolong the suffering of millions of Iraqis.

Over the last several years, since the US military withdrew in late 2011*, the Shia government in Baghdad has persecuted the Sunni minority population relentlessly. Persecution against Sunnis has included killings, disappearances, mass arrests, indefinite detainment without charges or trial, torture, and exclusion from national, provincial and local political, security and revenue structures.

The result has been Sunni alignment with the Islamic State and organized revolution against the Shia dominated government in Baghdad with the all too predictable accompanying sectarian slaughter. Mass Sunni retaliation against non-Sunnis, led by the Islamic State, highlighted the news cycle this summer, although this type of bloodshed was nothing unique or new to the people of Iraq. The cycle of violence continues as Shia forces, now with American military support, engage in retribution against Sunni civilians.

This cycle of violence started with our invasion of Iraq in 2003, and while it diminished for a period of time from 2007-2011, it has since been progressing steadily. Nearly 10,000 Iraqis were killed in sectarian violence in 2013, and, if nothing changes, at the current rate, nearly 20,000 Iraqis, maybe more, will die this year.

What can and should be done?

Address the political grievances of the Sunni population. Give the Sunnis a reason not to support the Islamic State. Right now the Sunni population of Iraq is choosing to side with the Islamic State because that is a better option than to further acquiesce to the Shia government in Baghdad. To accomplish Sunni rejection of the Islamic State pressure must be put on the government in Baghdad to reform by incorporating Sunnis back into the security forces, into the political system and into the revenue streams, as well as removing Shia dominated security forces from Sunni areas. Greater autonomy must be given to Sunni areas; note this is not a Sunni only demand, but the government in Baghdad is so corrupt, that the Shia province of Basra in southern Iraq wants autonomy too.

The government in Baghdad will not reform or stop its persecution of Sunnis while we provide it with unconditional support through weapons sales and the use of the American air force or while we allow the continued sale of Iraqi oil. With no reform and no negotiation the Sunnis will remain attached to the Islamic State. With no political efforts the Islamic State will continue to grow stronger.

Sound familiar? Like our misadventure in Afghanistan? The greater we supported the corrupt government in Kabul and the more American troops we sent, the more the Taliban prospered. A similar dynamic is at play in Iraq. Consequently, without a change in American policy the cycle of violence in Iraq will continue its ghastly spiral, Amnesty International will find cause and need to publish more reports, and parasites of war, like the Islamic State and American defense companies will be the sole beneficiaries.

You may find the Amnesty International report here.

*This is not an endorsement for US forces to have remained in Iraq, but rather acknowledgment of one of the consequences of massive policy folly and foolishness. Despite a revisionist view currently circulated by hawks in D.C. and on TV, the prospect of American troops staying in Iraq past 2011 was wildly unpopular with a majority of Iraqis and would have led to a re-opening of the Iraq Civil War, including Muqtada al-Sadr’s forces once again killing American troops in large numbers. One of the foremost lessons that somehow, amazingly, we have not learned as Americans, is that once war has begun, war is impossible to control and there may be no options that result in anything other than death, maiming and destruction.

The Persian Nuclear Chess Game

The enemy of my enemy is my enemy

Israel Hayom

Chess: An Iranian Invention

Chess: An Iranian Invention
The idea that the enemy of my enemy is my potential ally underlies the 2014 Western policy toward Iran, the enemy of Islamic State. It underlay U.S. policy toward Iraq’s Saddam Hussein — the enemy of Iran — until his occupation of Kuwait on Aug. 2, 1990.
The reckless policy toward Iraq in 1990 triggered a conventional conflict, a $1.25 trillion cost to the U.S. taxpayer, 4,500 U.S. military fatalities, a surge of anti-U.S. Islamic terrorism, and a dramatic destabilization of the Persian Gulf. The misguided characterization of Iran could produce a nuclear conflict, a mega-trillion dollar cost to the U.S. taxpayer, an unprecedented level of fatalities, a tidal wave of global anti-U.S Islamic terrorism, and tectonic eruptions of insanity throughout the globe.
During 1989-1990, upon the conclusion of the Iraq-Iran war, the U.S. administration portrayed Iraq’s Saddam Hussein — the enemy of America’s enemy, Iran — as a potential ally, enhancing Baghdad’s strategic capabilities through an intelligence-sharing agreement, supplies of sensitive dual-use systems and the extension of $5 billion loan guarantees. Instead of constraining Saddam’s regional maneuverability and inherent, violent, megalomaniac expansionism, the U.S. administration chose to ignore Saddam’s core, imperialistic, rogue, radical, anti-U.S. ideology, which triggered the Iraq-Iran war.
The larger, historical, ideological, complex context was overtaken by a narrowly and simplistically designed policy du jour. The recklessness of “the enemy of my enemy is my potential ally” was underlined by an intense U.S.-Iraq diplomatic traffic. For example, Saddam’s meeting with Ambassador April Glaspie on July 25, 1990, which convinced Saddam that he could invade Kuwait with impunity.
The victory of wishful thinking over reality was also the basis for Israel’s 1993 policy toward the PLO — the enemy of Hamas — which was gullibly expected to align itself with Israel’s war on Palestinian terrorism, in return for the unprecedented Israeli territorial concessions of the Oslo process. Instead, since 1993, Israel has been a victim of an unprecedented wave of PLO/Hamas anti-Israel terrorism, reinforced by daily hate education and incitement in Mahmoud Abbas’ schools, mosques and media, as well as a surge of terrorism from 2000-2003, the 2006 Hamas takeover of Gaza and the 2008-2009, 2012 and 2014 wars against Palestinian terrorism in Gaza.
The assumption that “the enemy of my enemy is potentially my friend” underestimates the following endemic, unique features of Iran’s ayatollahs and mullahs: the compulsive, core, Islamic, supremacist, megalomaniac, anti-infidel, anti-U.S. ideology; the perception of the U.S. as the “Great Satan” and the chief obstacle to an imperial Islamic Iran; the intimate military ties with America’s enemies and adversaries; the sponsorship of global anti-U.S. jihadist terrorism, including in Iraq and Afghanistan; a 30-year track record of non-compliance and deceit in their negotiation with the West; Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s key role in misleading the West; the clear and present danger posed by a nuclear Iran to the survival of Saudi Arabia and other pro-U.S. oil-producing Arab regimes and to global and homeland security, national security and economy; the impact of Iran’s occupation of Iraq’s Shiite section upon the stability of the Gulf; the egregious violations of human rights by Iran’s minority, tyrannical, ruthless regime which sent 500,000 children to clear minefields during the Iraq-Iran War; and the ineffectiveness of sanctions, and any diplomatic option, when applied to rogue regimes, bent on domination, and the rejection of peaceful coexistence.
“The enemy of my enemy is my potential ally” worldview has been nurtured by the same foreign policy establishments that have systematically misread the Middle East: misjudging the rise of Islamic State; overestimating the will of the U.S.’s Arab allies to fight and the capabilities of Iraq’s military; underestimating the developments in Syria; welcoming the Arab tsunami as an “Arab Spring” transitioning toward democracy; crowning the Palestinian issue as the core cause of the Middle East turbulence and the crown jewel of Arab policy-making; encouraging the toppling of pro-U.S. Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and the rise of the anti-U.S. Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood terror organization; giving Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi the cold shoulder; jumpstarting the 2006 Hamas takeover of Gaza; legitimizing Yasser Arafat and Mahmoud Abbas in 1988 and embracing them as a messengers of peace in 1993; underestimating Palestinian/Iranian hate education as the most effective manufacturing line of terrorism and the most authentic reflection of the respective leadership; courting Saddam Hussein in 1990; punishing Israel for destroying Iraq’s nuclear reactor in 1981, which spared the U.S. a nuclear confrontation in 1991; the abandonment of the pro-U.S. Shah of Iran, and welcoming the rise of anti-U.S. Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini; initial opposition to Prime Minister Begin’s 1977 direct peace negotiations with Egypt, and so on.
The deficient threat assessment of a nuclear Iran has crowned Teheran’s ayatollahs and mullahs as the top beneficiaries of the confrontation with Islamic State, rewarding them with what they want most: additional time required to obtain nuclear capabilities.
Reality checks and common sense indicate that the U.S. does not have a potential ally in the battle between Iran and Islamic State. Both are sworn enemies (amenable to tactical, provisional negotiations and truces) bent on Islamic supremacy, terrorism and “Death to America.”

Obama Allowed The Persian King In (Daniel 8)

When Obama Fled Iraq, He Invited Iran to Come In

Patriot Post
Obama and Khamenei

September 24, 2014
Various Iranian officials, all speaking on condition of anonymity, have made clear Iran wants a quid pro quo in the nuclear talks for any cooperation Iran provides in dealing with the growing threat of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). Iran is in a unique position to provide meaningful assistance in the fight against ISIL – all the more so after Barack Obama ran for the exit in Iraq in 2011. With no U.S. military presence to speak of in Iraq, Iran is well-positioned to provide intelligence, logistics, training and even kinetic assistance to Iraqi forces that the United States cannot provide. Iranian Qods Force units have been supporting Iraqi forces for several months now in an attempt to keep Islamic State forces out of Baghdad, and there are credible reports that Iranian SU-25 ground attack aircraft provided to Iraq are being flown by Iranian pilots.Both U.S. and Iranian officials have downplayed and even outright denied any possibility of military cooperation between the two nations. But as the fight escalates – as it must if it is to have any meaningful outcome – Iran’s leverage will only grow. Iran has significant ground forces, including large and reasonably competent special forces, that could go to Iraq to assist their Shia cousins. Iranian aircraft can easily reach areas where the Islamic State operates, and the Iranian government is far less concerned about having pilots shot down and captured than is the United States.In a different setting, the U.S. would welcome such assistance from a nation located near ISIL’s operating areas, but there is no upside to partnering with Iran.  
First, it would give prestige and respectability to the world’s leading pariah nation to be seen operating with the U.S., especially as so few other nations seem willing or able to do so (we’re looking at you, Europe). Furthermore, Iran might plausibly be able to achieve military ends the U.S. cannot, thereby increasing its stature.
Second, cooperation would expand Iran’s existing influence over the Iraqi government, which is already a major hindrance to stability in Baghdad. In fact, it would continue Iran’s 35-year effort to portray itself as the indispensable nation of the entire Middle East.

Third, Iran would gain precisely the leverage it seeks in the nuclear talks if its military forces were carrying a sizeable part of the load in fighting the Islamic State.

For all of these reasons, the Obama administration and especially Secretary of State John Kerry must – must – resist any efforts by Iran to link the nuclear negotiations to Iranian help against ISIL. Iran will act as it deems necessary against the Islamic State in any case, but it should not expect or receive any payoff in nuclear negotiations.